Sleep apnea is a fairly common condition with approximately 20 million adult Americans diagnosed with the sleep disorder. While this may sound like an alarming number, it is estimated that 80 percent of sleep apnea cases remain undiagnosed. The drastic amount of untreated sleep apnea patients is largely due to the fact many do not recognize the signs and symptoms of the disorder. As a result, undiagnosed patients are at a high risk for developing serious complications to their overall health and quality of life. At Flenniken Family Dentistry, we do not want to see your health at risk from untreated apnea. As a dentist providing treatment for sleep apnea in Carlisle, we have the top seven signs to help recognize the sleep disorder.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is classified as a sleep disorder that results in pauses in breathing while asleep. These pauses are most often due to an obstruction in the airway, known as obstructive sleep apnea. The obstruction causes the airways to narrow, leading to interruptions in breathing. Since the pauses in breathing occur while a patient is asleep, many do not notice these interruptions. However, there are many additional signs that the condition may be present.
- Chronic Snoring—Everyone snores from time to time, but those with sleep apnea tend to snore excessively. The obstruction in the airway causes loud, disruptive snoring that occurs nightly.
- Pauses in Breathing—When the airway becomes obstructed, oxygen levels in the blood decrease as you stop breathing for a few seconds. These pauses in breathing can occur anywhere from 5 to 30 times per hour, lasting as long as 30 seconds or longer.
- Fatigue—Despite receiving the proper amount of sleep at night, sleep apnea causes fatigue to continue throughout the day. Excessive daytime sleepiness results from decreased sleep quality as the lack of proper oxygen makes is difficult to reach REM sleep.
- Morning Headaches— Headaches are among the top complaint among sleep apnea suffers. Morning headaches often occur because the brain receives less oxygen, which causes the blood vessels in the brain to widen.
- Overweight—Studies have found that those with the sleep disorder tend to be overweight or suffer from obesity. As fatty tissues accumulate around the neck and throat, the potential for the airways becoming obstructed increases.
- High Blood Pressure—The lack of adequate oxygen while sleeping causes the heart to work harder to compensate for the decrease of oxygen in the blood. Over time, the blood vessels become accustom to being narrowed, which makes the heart strain to pump blood.
- Irritability—The inability to receive proper rest causes significant mood changes and irritability. It is not uncommon to suffer from depression, anxiety, or mood swings. In addition, as sleep deprivation sets in, you can experience loss of productivity and the ability to concentrate.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea in Carlisle
After undergoing a sleep study to diagnose sleep apnea, you will begin treatment. We provide oral appliance therapy and CPAP treatment for sleep apnea in Carlisle. If you are suffering from sleep apnea, sleep soundly and protect your health with treatment from Flenniken Family Dentistry.